Top-Down, Bottom-Up in Cognition

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There are top-down and there are bottom-up approaches to cognition. Which has been more fruitful in the history of psychology? Discuss with reference to Bartlett and/or the Gestaltists.

This essay is going to talk about the top-down and bottom-up approaches to cognition. It will further explore which approach has been more fruitful in the history of Psychology with reference to Bartlett and the Gestaltists. This essay will look at the top-down approaches to cognition and then the bottom-up approaches to cognition including the advantages and disadvantages of each approach. Furthermore this essay will critically analyse Bartlett and the Gestalts theory with reference to the nonsense syllables and the eye-witness theory. Top-down approaches to cognition is when the main focus is on the bigger picture. This type of process is also called the ‘large chunk’. This process is when the main focus is put on the final goal working backwards to the smaller even the smallest detail of the final goal. ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, Wertheimer (1920), this is one of the Gestalts phrase in explanation of the top-down approaches meaning that the bigger picture is greater than the amount of particles or details that join together to bring it into existence. If a person likes to work with the highest level of a situation or challenge going down to the finest detail, then that person is described as a top-down processor. Top-down processors depend on previous knowledge or experience of the situation or of the entity. Furthermore, prior knowledge or experience is important when it comes to perception, Gregory (2006). In Psychology top-down knowledge is used to approach processing of information and memory involved. Top-down approach is directed by knowledge or experience, it is driven by cognition. Top-down approach in cognition is the way information is processed. Senses pick up or they receive information from the world around us and then...
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